I remember liking the cartoon's look and how the main character moved, as well as that she was a female action heroine, fairly rare among cartoons at that time. Aeon had reminded me of Tarna from "Heavy Metal" in that she didn't seem to just be a male action hero in a skirt -- or in this case, a slinky bodysuit.
The movie managed to keep a lot of the cartoon's aesthetic and the main character's fluidity of movement, although it did seem a bit surreal at times. There was some CGI in there, but it was usually not painfully obvious that the viewer was watching a computer generated Charlize Theron, so for the most part it was fairly easy to suspend one's disbelief and enter into the movie's universe.
Since I never watched the original cartoon regularly, I can't really comment on how closely the movie kept to the original's story line(s). I will say that I did enjoy the movie's plot as a sci-fi story, although I found the reasons given for the rebellion to be a bit on the thin side. So a dynasty rules for 400 years -- is that the only reason for wanting to get rid of them? That didn't make a heck of a lot of sense to me . . .
Charlize Theron did a decent job with the character of AeonFlux, but the writers didn't give her a lot to work with, so she seemed as much of a cartoon as the original Aeon was. I liked the male lead, Marton Csokas, much more -- even with the so-so writing, he managed to breathe some real life into his character and gave Trevor Goodchild a soul, something I didn't really see in Theron's performance, apart from a few flashes here and there. Pete Postlethwaite had a bit part and made the most of it, stealing the show whenever he came on screen. Frances McDormand, however, was completely wasted and gave new meaning to the term "wooden". I found the rest of the cast eminently forgettable.
What wasn't forgettable were the sets and the costumes -- the overall aesthetic had a quasi-Asian feel to it that I enjoyed immensely. There were little touches here and there, such as Aeon's sister Una slicing a dragonfruit, that added to that, as well as the design of the furniture and most of the costumes, which often included extras using parasols. Many of the costumes were striking and very, very sexy -- I was reminded of Gaultier's costuming of the cast of "The Fifth Element" at times. Some of the set designs were quite striking too and added to the sci-fi futuristic aura, but not in a way that was distracting -- it enhanced the "otherness" of the city of Bregna.
The ideas behind the plotline I found interesting, although not the writers' execution of them. The plot raised some interesting questions that really were never explored during the course of the movie, which was too bad, since I feel it would have enhanced the experience for the audience. There were a few times when I half-expected Aeon to say Valeria's line from "Conan the Barbarian" -- "Do you want to live forever?" -- although she never actually did. A few of the ideas had also recently popped up in "The Island", such as memories being a function of a certain DNA profile, but as in that movie, little was done with them. A pity, that . . .